August 10, 2013 was the day that our student Trevor Kershaw stepped on the mats to compete in his first BJJ competition since beginning his training only 5 months ago! He has shown a lot of heart, and determination on his journey so far and we look forward to seeing the amazing work he is going to be accomplishing in the future. He started training with us coming into the gym a strong 215 pounds with 6% bodyfat but we knew he would be more agile and be able to execute his Jiu-Jitsu moves if he dropped some of the muscle. 9 days out from the competition he was weighing 203 pounds but had some talks with his teammates and coaches and decided to drop to 181 for the tournament. He accomplished this goal in 8 days showing his discipline and dedication and his hunger to compete and win. He is also a determined driver! If you ever need to get somewhere in California in an emergency then Trevor is the man to call. He picked up his teammates at 5am that Saturday morning and made it all the way to the middle of San Francisco in 2 hours! I didn’t know you could make a Chevy truck move so fast! :P
The tournament venue was at the St. Anne of the Sunset church in San Francisco. A highly irregular choice for a tournament but when it’s hosted by a guy like Kurt Osiander you would expect no less than to have some flair added to the event. In true Rhino form, we watched numerous times during the tournament as Kurt scrolled up his heavy-metal playlist on his i-Phone and then he would dive into a solo head-banging ritual as if he was in an air-guitar type competition that was held for mosh pit dancers. We were sitting in the crowd and we would look to the right and Kurt would be head-banging to the death-metal band Lamb of God and then we would all look to the left and see a large golden statue depicting the crucifixion. It was an odd dichotomy to say the least! Apparently when Kurt’s at church and he thinks to himself, “WWJD?” He thinks Jesus would shift gears and start violently trembling his head to the sounds of Cannibal Corpse. The venue was a long narrow hall that is normally used for holding church services. The pews were removed and mats were laid down in one long row six deep.
The first half of the tournament was held very professionally and on time. It was a round-robin, submission-only type format. The first qualifying round-robin brackets were 4 minutes per match. This was apparently done to encourage action in the opening round. In the semi-finals and final rounds, the competitors were given 10 minutes to compete. In this round-robin format competitors would sometimes compete in one match and then as soon as they were stepping off the mats, their name was called immediately to compete in another match. This is something all of our competitors at Pacific Martial Arts should be prepared for whenever competing in a tournament format like this one.
Soon enough his white belt division was announced to head on over to the competitors bull-pen and he was off competing in his first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu match of his life. Here’s the video of his premiere match in the sport.
As you can see the back control lessons that our school has been focusing on lately has been paying off! 2 more seconds and that would have been an official submission win. With little time to rest Trevor was called up for his 2nd qualifying round match shown here below:
Once again, a very good performance with great control and some near finishes. By this time though, Trevor had found his competitive vibe and was now ready to show what all his training had been for. Here come the bow-and-arrows, back-to-back-to-back:
Because of a tie, the officials had a fourth match put into this qualifying round as a tie-breaker to see who would go on to the semi-final rounds. This was a rematch from the guy in the 2nd video who caused us to have a draw that round. It was a do-or-die moment for our team and everyone from Fresno in the stands were on the edge of our seats hoping to see our teammate make it into the medal rounds.
There was so much momentum and excitement built up now! The whole team is excited and anticipating a great day for Trevor. 4 matches and two great submissions and now we are in the medal rounds with the possibility of winning it all!!!!!!!! And then…………… we wait. And we wait. And we wait some more. There were purple belt matches going on. Blue belts were rounding out there day. Another super-fight which would freeze the whole rest of the tournament. There 7 super-fights which would hold up the rest of the mats. We don’t need 7 super-fights! And what once was 6 mats being used efficiently and on time at the beginning of the day, were now sometimes only 4 mats in use. I believe the tournament went smoothly for almost everyone competing that day and from comments online, people were happy with how things were run. But somehow Trevor’s division got lost in the shuffle and the wait between the qualifying rounds to the semi-final rounds was 4 hours! His body was slowing down by this time and cramping up. We only fed him a banana, and some energy gel and water because we kept hearing that his division was soon up. This had both the coaches and the teammates from PMA nervous about how this would effect competitive performance. On top of this, Trevor had strained his right thumb and wrist from one of the earlier bow-and-arrows and had muscle fatigue in his forearms. Finally the semifinals were called up and we put our game-faces back on and it was time to go win this. Here’s the Semi-final match:
What a great competitor! Luckily we did not have to wait long for the finals match-up where he faced a 4-stripe white belt. If you are unaware of the stripe system in BJJ, it is 4 stripes to the next belt. So Trevor is facing a competitor whose school recognizes him as being very close to being promoted to blue belt. Here’s the finals match up from Saturday:
After along and exhausting day the sweet sense of Victory made it all worth it. And after all that time and hard work we saw Trevor take the podium stand and receive his reward………2 t-shirts and a coconut water…… Where’s the medal? Boxing champions get awarded championship belts. Olympians receive medals. Bull riders receive championship belt buckles. Even poker players get a bracelet to signify a big win. I would hope an event would hold it’s self with high enough esteem and pride in it’s brand and event that it would realize that the competitors would want some sort of physical recognition in the form of a trophy, or medal, or ninja sword! This was the very first KO event though and I’m sure all the small scheduling issues and medal awards will be worked out for the next event. It was a solid tournament overall and we enjoyed our time there.
No worries though, it’s the journey that counts and victory was with Trevor and Pacific Martial Arts this day. Now it’s back to the 3′rd floor and the thunderdome mats at Sierra Athletic Club to get ready for the US Open in October.